City of Gothenburg Democracy Day

13 April

Youth Fellows Elena Vocale, Jouman Tafnkji, and Benedikt Schuegraf are sharing their experiences from the IYTT’s participation at the City of Gothenburg’s Democracy Day on 28 February.

Every year, the City of Gothenburg hosts a Democracy Day for civil servants at all levels of the city administration. This year, the IYTT, represented by Youth Fellows Benedikt Shuegraf, Jouman Tafnkji and Elena Vocale, accompanied by director Urban Strandberg, was invited to contribute to the event. They conducted a “method workshop”, introducing the work of the IYTT, and performed a reading of the play Conversations with Strangers. The play, which premiered during the Athens Democracy Forum last year, again succeeded in exciting the audience.

Benedikt Shuegraf, Jouman Tafnkji and Elena Vocale, during the staged reading of "Conversations with Strangers".

What did our Youth Fellows think about their experiences at the conference and doing the play reading?

Performing the play was a memorable experience for me since it was a powerful moment to stand on stage and feel that the numerous practice sessions before the conference were absolutely worth it. – Benedikt

Conversing with participants from various sectors in my city of Gothenburg opened my eyes to the challenges of democracy and inclusion that they have to work with on a daily basis. It made me feel very fortunate to be the one to bring the youth’s perspective on the table! – Jouman

Whether it is for a big, small or digital audience, or even when it is just us rehearsing, this play is incredibly potent, and it was a privilege for me to perform it at the conference. Moreover, as a young woman and student I sometimes struggle to make my voice heard, yet the conference participants cherished our contribution and reciprocated with enthusiasm and valuable suggestions. – Elena

Building upon the IYTT’s ‘Open Chair Democracy Talks’, Conversations with Strangers conveys voices from people on the streets, talking about both their satisfaction and their disappointment with democracy. In connection to the Democracy Day, Jouman, Ben and Elena performed such Open Chair Democracy Talks – both at the conference during breaks and at the shopping mall Nordstan.

For me it was the first time conducting ‘Open Chair Democracy Talks’. It was a truly rewarding experience to listen to the feelings of random people who I would have otherwise not talked to. I think that listening to each other more often could make our societies stronger. – Benedikt

It felt daunting to approach passers-by on the streets of Nordstan. However, what made it all the more pleasurable was the knowledge that we provoked citizens to actively think about their views of living in a democratic country. We learned that peoples socioeconomic, gender and age background play an important role in the way they perceive democracy and their own life choices – Jouman

I am always excited to be on stage and voice the people we encounter in the streets. It feels like the right place at the right time. Even more so when we actually take to the streets. The OCDTs are one of our most crucial tasks, and it is a way to make the people (re)discover one of the many shapes of democracy. The people of Gothenburg were so energetic when engaging with us that it made me realise our efforts are worth the results. – Elena

Elena, Ben, Urban and Jouman at Nordstan.